Is Sabarimala ‘divine flame’ lit by humans?

Millions of devotees believe the fire they sight in Sabarimala is a divine manifestation, but a newspaper now concludes, after interviewing those associated with the temple, that it is lit by humans. The fire appears on Makara Sankranti day in mid-January every year.

The Hindu spoke to several people associated with the Sabarimala temple after the death of 104 pilgrims in a stampede last week. It concluded, on the basis of their observations, that the fire is lit by humans.

The High Court had sought details about the fire, which marks the end of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season, on Thursday.

The Hindu reports: “Is the Makarajyothi man-made, the Kerala High Court asked on Thursday, about the phenomenon long associated with the climactic moment of the annual Makaravilakku pilgrim season at the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala. The Hindu on Friday posed the question before a number of prominent persons closely associated with, or seek to represent the interests of, the revered and ancient forest-shrine. The answer: it is indeed man-made.”
Many of those interviewed said the lighting of a lamp is a “continuation of a practice followed earlier by the tribal families who lived near the hill-top.”

Soon after The Hindu published the article, a senior priest at the temple responded by saying the atheists were trying to destroy people’s faith in Sabarimala.

Now as an afterthought: Pilgrimages of any religion (Mecca, Amarnath, Sabarimala) have accidents with many pilgrims and devotees losing their lives. Someone mentioned it is almost regular like in this case. People say “It is very lucky for them to die in God’s lap.” Is it so? By the way, why are the pilgrimages full of tragedies? Is it natural or something to do with spirituality?

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